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Big Bore Airguns

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by YeomanArcher, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. YeomanArcher

    YeomanArcher Newbie

    Likes Received:
    I know big-game hunting with high-power air rifles is not legal in the UK, but really big air rifles do fascinate me - 9mm, 0.45", 0.5" etc (and they have certain advantages over firearms). I read someone describe them as being like black powder guns without the powder in the way they shoot. I have noticed that they are always designed to transmit energy by relatively low velocity but high mass - rather than a small round going very fast. Why is this? I know that it is technically possible to have an air weapon able to generate a very high velocity, but that conventional pellets become aerodynamically unstable at supersonic speeds. Above a certain bore, only bullets, slugs or ball are used anyway - so why not high supersonic velocities with a smaller calibre - as is the trend these days with firearms? I would be really interested to understand why this is the case if anyone can shed any light on this question.
  2. Squats

    Squats Engaging Member

    Likes Received:
    Bournemouth - UTC
    Interesting post. I`d guess it`s due to the volume and pressure of the air available, which is limited by the amount the gun can store, if you see what i mean.
  3. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    The most significant reason for high output airguns following the "big and slow" format is the limited pressure we can work with. Commercially compressed air is only widely available at pressures up to 300bar (less in the states) and our guns usually work at somewhere around the 150-200bar mark. Compare this to the NATO proof pressure for a 5.56mm round (a 62gn bullet at 3100ft/s) of 430MPa (4300bar) and you can see why we can't attain such high velocities.

    In addition, nitrocellulose powder is a far more energy-dense medium than compressed air, so as the muzzle energy levels rise powder presents a more viable alternative. As much as I like airguns (and find high-output stuff interesting from an engineering perspective) it's the usual case of horses for courses - IMO once your target muzzle energy exceeds 40-50ftlb you're much better off with a powder burner.

    The Daystate Wolverine is a good case in point - yes, it gives 100ftlb (big numbers for UK airgun shooters) however it gives b****r all shots per charge and compared to a decent rimfire (which could be had at half the cost) has an inferior trajectory and sheds energy at a greater rate..
  4. Trampilot

    Trampilot Keyboard Hero

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    Nr Ross On Wye
    Something I've mentioned a few times in that back in the 80s when Daystate mainly did pest control / hunting rifles their FAC version didn't shoot pellets. They used .22 bullet heads. This was due to (at the time) there wasn't a suitable pellet available for the high pressures. I have also read of normal pellets disintigrating in barrels due to the higher pressures.

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